Carbon Material +
Nitrogen Material + Moisture + Air = Compost
AUBURN, May 11---The
secret ingredient in this recipe is the microlife--bacteria, fungi
and other tiny organisms--, that inhabit the surfaces of organic
material. Acting as an elaborate food chain within a pile of yard
and garden waste, they decompose it as they eat and reproduce. Pile
some moist carbon material (dried brown materials such as fallen
leaves or straw) either alone or with a much smaller proportion of
nitrogen material (moist, green stuff such as vegetable peelings,
fresh weeds or grass clippings), and let it happen. With sufficient
air the organisms thrive, generating heat within the pile.
Eventually, the assembled yard waste is reduced to soft, dark humus.
Encourage even more
feverish microbial activity by shredding the material before piling
it, turning or stirring the pile more often, or adding more
organisms such as red worms.
Here are some sources of
humus available to gardeners:
SOURCE: Dr. Charles
Mitchell, Extension Agronomist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
(334) 844-5489, and the National Garden Bureau